So I have realized some benefit from mindfulness. The concept of being present and aware of what you are thinking about. Not just going through the motions, but being engaged actively with what you are doing. Understanding what is causing your behavior and why.
This is applied, normally, to meditation. If you can train your mind to be conscious of your feelings and thoughts then you can gain mastery over them. This can be applied to other activities as well. So, I thought this morning, why not eating?
Think about this. How often when you sit down to eat do you just plow through what is in front of you with no conscious thought? How fast do you chew your food? A few thoughts came to me in this consideration. First, you only activate your taste buds on the first bite of food and for the first few seconds. The rest is not taste, the rest of the food that you pour down your pie hole is to fill an urge, need or an impulse. Have you stopped for a moment to consider just exactly where that is coming from?
Is stress, learned behavior, a compulsion, an addiction driving your desire to consume more? Are you actually hungry? This would be a mindful approach and after carefully considering the origin of your action you would most likely change what you eat, when you eat, and how often.
The second thought was the loss of our agrarian communities. I remember as a child eating at Grandma’s house and there were a few things to point out. Meal preparation was a big deal. Talking the time and careful consideration to plan and prepare meals was a constant and daily routine. When we sat to eat, we sat at a prepared table and said prayers of thanksgiving for our food. This all increases mindfulness. In sharp contrast is the fast food meal brought home by harried parents, and all consumed while looking at phones and other devices. Completely mindless, no consideration of the food source.
In addition, an agrarian community lives where the food is grown. This dramatically changes the conscious awareness of what your impact is. You would never see a farmer polluting the ground where he grows his family’s food. A family that is part of the life cycle is incredibly mindful about what they consume and what waste they produce. I daresay that waste is a concept that is relatively new in our society.
So imagine how different eating habits would be if we were mindful when planning what to eat, expressed gratitude for what we had as we started to prepare the meal, and stopped a minute to enjoy the color, smell, texture of the raw foods we were working with. As we eat, we chew slowly, enjoying the taste and sitting down calmly and not in a rush. Instead of grabbing something quick, we take the time to be mindful regarding the thing we do the most of next to sleep. Mindful eating could go a long way to helping to improve our relationship with food.